Metro One Music
Release Date: October 14th 2014
Reviewed by Joshua Andre
- Rend The Heavens
- My Song
- Something New
- Make Much Of You
- Ezekiel 16
- Heaven Is Your Throne
- Lead Me On
- Still Hope
Daughter of iconic CCM/pop artist Crystal Lewis, Izzi Ray has followed in her mother’s footsteps, quite literally, with her sophomore album Make Most Of You releasing this week. With a range of styles encompassed in this ten track album, from pop, rock, worship, dance, and the acoustic driven slower ballad (just like Crystal is famous for experimenting with many music styles), Izzi’s under the radar release (she isn’t signed to a major label…yet!) is a must listen for some uplifting, refreshing and inspiring melodies. Sounding similar vocally to Amy Perry from Selah, Kari Jobe, and Lindsay McCaul, this album was a joy to listen to, and one that “I will be putting on repeat on iTunes for a while yet! No doubt after this album, you’ll be rooting for Izzi’s success in her music career as I am!
Opening the track list is the spontaneous worshipful like electronic melody “Rend The Heavens”. Immediately we hear Izzi worshipping to God, and the theme of opening up and being vulnerable and honest with God about everything going on in our lives is evident throughout the entire album. As Izzi asks God to ‘…rend the heavens, oh, that You would come down and change us, I tremble before You…I’m desperate for You…’, there’s a sense of urgency and desperation, and it’s clear that Izzi is a young woman who’s passionate for Jesus, who has made a stand, a decision to worship Him at all times! What a way to start a vibrant and musically diverse album!
“My Song” continues where the album opener left off. There’s more of a rock sound, with the track led by the driving electric guitar, however it is the lyrics that enthrall me, as Izzi uses a simple prayer to God but creates so much more, as the depth and passion in the song is beyond what I could have imagined. The music of the track seems a bit dark, but I guess juxtapositioned with the uplifting lyrics, there’s an unusual but welcome effect that arises. As Izzi sings out ‘…You are, you are, my love, my song, You hold my heart, though I’m weak, You’re strong…’, all I can do is marvel at such a accomplished and captivating artist Izzi is- it’s hard to believe this is only her second album!
“Something New” takes things to the more intimate, as Izzi boldly and emphatically asks in this piano led radio ballad, across light guitars, for God to mould and shape her into the woman of God He wants her to be. A prayer that we all should prayer, the chorus is especially moving and encouraging, as we sing along ‘…take my wounded heart, make me something new, search me and connect, mould me to be like You, shatter all my pride, I lay me at your feet, for the sake of Your great name, forgive my iniquities…’. The title track is an ethereal electronic like show paced dance remix club tune (with a stirring electric guitar solo in the middle), and highlights how God can and use us, through our pride, our humility, our mistakes, and our successes, to make His name famous and glorified, so that more and more people can enter into His kingdom, and it is in this track that Izzi shows off her versatility vocally and lyrically.
The final song of the first half of the album is the soft, contemplative, acoustic guitar led track “Soon” (I’m personally glad that the song didn’t build up, as the lyrics are accentuated more!). A love song directed to someone who may have moved away or passed away, Izzi speaks about why the person is close to her, then reiterates that being away from them hurts, but she’ll see them soon. The song could also be God singing to us as well, with the message being that God longs for and wants us to turn to Him and to Christianity; however the ‘soon’ is ambiguous for a reason, and I commend Izzi for delivering a song with many meanings that has the ability to speak to many people!
“Ezekiel 16” may seem daunting and overwhelming- is Izzi going to sing the whole chapter out, or parts of the chapter verbatim?- but we soon find out that this haunting, mysterious acoustic guitar driven ballad (with no verses nor chorus) is a summary of Ezekiel’s thoughts and feelings. As Izzi sings in the persona of the respected prophet, and reminds us that God is a loving God, and will always take us back, no matter how far we think we’ve fallen, no matter how far we think we’re too far gone. A declaration to God that we are His and He is ours; the half sung, half spoken word song is quite brilliant, kudos to Izzi for making it work!
The first single “Heaven Is Your Throne”, probably the most CCM track on the album, with guitars and keys leading the track (with handclaps in the background), has Izzi passionately reaffirming the fact that though we doesn’t deserve the love of God, He still chases after us with abandon, and that should overwhelm us and make us proud. In fact, the basis for this song is us praising God because He is reigning in heaven, that ‘…I’m on my face, everlasting life, striking through the sky, I’ll see the Son of God come back again…’, and Izzi’s cries of ardent and fervent praise has me joining in as well, with this young worship leader surely destined for a bright future! With the dubstep electronic synth driven “Lead Me On” (not the Amy Grant song), being a honest prayer, where Izzi asks God to lead us onto the path that He has for us, onto the plan He has laid out for us; the final two songs confirm in my mind why Izzi should be signed to a label soon, and why this album will undoubtedly propel Izzi to great heights of stardom and success!
Both “Grace” and “Still Hope” are piano ballads, and have Izzi singing in her element, and showcasing her vulnerable, captivating, and powerful voice. With “Grace” being an almost tear jerker, as Izzi cuts though all of the façade, and gently reminds us that we all need grace, that God’s grace is the only thing that will sustain us in this life, the final song “Still Hope” comes back to the heart of the album. Starting out with just Izzi and a serene acoustic guitar, there are many emotions that arise from such simplicity, with one of them being sheer adoration and pure, unbridled worship to our Lord and Saviour. As Izzi eloquently and emphatically reminds us that ‘…I know that You are strong, I know that You are loving, You satisfy my soul, I find rest in You alone, I know that You’re my refuge, my anchor through the storm, I know that You are mighty, I trust You through it all…’; the concept of being real for God, and of worshipping Him because He is God (present in the opener), is revisited.
A worshipper at heart, Izzi Ray’s sophomore solo album Make Much Of You is sure to win many people over, like it did with myself; and I am positive that many listeners will be impressed by such maturity and lyrical prowess. It’s hard to believe this album is her second- and this fact makes me very excited for her third album! Every single track is captivating, with plenty to gain from the album in every aspect- and I am sure that when I revisit this album again in a few months’ time, I will have new revelations to unearth, and it’s thanks to Izzi for creating a deep, rich and multifaceted album, that can warm even the most hardened of souls!
3 songs to listen to: Something New, Ezekiel 16, Still Hope
RIYL: Brooke Fraser, Dara Maclean, Kari Jobe, Lindsay McCaul, Lauren Daigle